Seattle School Board's Lollapalooza of a Meeting Yesterday
As I previously reported, the Board was having an Audit&Finance Committee Meeting of the Whole and then had an Executive Committee Meeting of the Whole and then a Work Session on the 2016-2017 Budget to figure out to do with this $11M underspend that was found.
All the Board members were present except for Sue Peters (on the phone the entire meeting) and Stephan Blanford whose absence was not explained. Also to note, during committee meetings of the whole (COW - how's that for an acronym?), only members of the committee vote on items but all Board members can partake in the discussion.
The meeting also was a first look at the new CFO, JoLynn Berge. The rest of the room was filled out by staff. I was the only member of the public present.
While the meeting was marked at times with laughter and the tone was respectful, it was also a sober meeting.
There were only two items to discuss, both of them Technology items. Representing DOTS (Department of Technology Services) was Nancy Petersen and David Oestreicher, Director of Technology Infrastructure. Former head Carmen Rahm left the district in early June. Like many senior staff before him, he left some real problems. The two items on the agenda were notable for that reason.
One was a BAR for the next Board meeting on July 6th for purchase of technology for BEX IV schools, capacity classrooms, K-3 class size reductions and Special Education classrooms. (This includes 85 capacity classrooms that have been created out of other spaces.)
It didn't start well as Deputy Superintendent Steve Nielsen had to confess that the BAR had left out an Apple contract that would move the cost on the BAR from $1.5M to $2M.
That's a pretty big issue right that there anyone could read a BAR on a contract Seattle Schools Community Forum: Seattle School Board's Lollapalooza of a Meeting Yesterday: